Travis County Sheriff's Department Focusing on Wellness

Law enforcement agencies are no longer focusing solely on the physical fitness of employees.

AUSTIN - “As a police officer, they wear a lot of gear around their belt. They’re sitting in a car on a day-to-day basis.”

As Travis County Captain Juan Sandoval explains, the job of a deputy can take a toll on the body.

“You just have a lot of pain,” Captain Sandoval said.

Not all job-related issues present outward symptoms. There are internal struggles that are climbing higher on the priority list for law enforcement agencies to address.

“We try to make that shift to focus where, or understand that, we now can recognize we have issues. You look across the country and news stories, there’s police officers that are doing things that may sound a little odd. So we need to focus on their mental health issues. We’re trying to do that, proactively do that within our department.”

Captain Sandoval says as part of a push for whole body health, the sheriff’s office created mental health classes for staff members and brought on a department psychologist.

The latest wellness initiative will take a stab at both mental and physical conditions. The sheriff’s office is partnering with the Texas Health and Science University to offer an acupuncture treatment program to employees.

“They’ll have -- a licensed acupuncturist is going to use the students to do acupuncture on volunteer staff members.”

The service is free of charge, as students will use the opportunity to train.

Acupuncture is said to assist in treating issues like chronic pain, PTSD, depression, anxiety, obesity, hypertension and arthritis.

“We’ve actually had a lot of people interested in it.”

Captain Sandoval says he may try it out as well.

“The fact that it’s available is great. I’m interested in it. I’m very curious to see the acupuncture and see if it’s something I’ll jump into.”

 

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